Professor Michael McDaniel is a member of the Kalari Clan of the Wiradjuri Nation of Central New South Wales with a distinguished career in Indigenous higher education and record of service to the arts, culture and the community spanning more than three decades.

Professor McDaniel is the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Leadership and Engagement) and Director of Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research at the University of Technology Sydney where he is also a Professor in Indigenous Education. He has a considerable record of leadership and service in relation to arts and culture and is a former Chair of the Board of Bangarra Dance Theatre, Australia's premier Indigenous contemporary dance company. Michael has also served on a number the boards including those of the Museum of Contemporary Art (Australia), Sydney Living Museums (Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales), the Australian Major Performing Arts Group (AMPAG) and the National Aboriginal Islander Skills Development Association (NAISDA) Dance College.

Professor McDaniel has a strong commitment to the preservation of Wiradjuri culture, in particular the preservation and teaching of badhang wilay (possum skin cloak) making. His cloaks are in a number of private collections, with one being acquired by the National Gallery of Australia in 2008.

Between 1980 and 1986, prior to entering university, Michael served as a full-time member of the Australian Defence Force, serving in the 5th/7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment. In 2021, in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, Michael was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), (General Division). The award was “for distinguished service to Indigenous tertiary education, to the advancement of social cohesion through reconciliation, to the performing arts, and to the community”.